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Probable that silver‐containing dressings and creams do not prevent wound infection or promote healing 

Wound dressings and creams containing silver are widely used. It is thought that silver may help wounds to heal faster and prevent infection, but we did not know if this was true. This review identified 26 trials (involving 2066 participants) comparing silver‐containing dressings or creams against dressings or creams that did not contain silver. Twenty of the trials were on burn wounds, while the other trials were on a mixture of wound types. Most studies were small and of poor quality. After examining them all, the authors concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the use of silver‐containing dressings or creams, as generally these treatments did not promote wound healing or prevent wound infections. Some evidence from a number of small, poor‐quality studies suggested that one silver‐containing compound (silver sulphadiazine) has no effect on infection, and actually slows down healing in patients with partial‐thickness burns.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2010

Dressings for treating superficial and partial thickness burns

Superficial burns are those which involve the epidermal skin layer and partial thickness burns involve deeper damage to structures such as blood vessels and nerves. There are many dressing materials available to treat these burns but none has strong evidence to support their use. Evidence from poor quality, small trials, suggests that superficial and partial thickness burns heal more quickly with silicon‐coated nylon, silver containing dressings and biosynthetic dressings than with silver sulphadiazine cream. Burns treated with hydrogel dressings healed more quickly than those treated with usual care.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Antibiotics to prevent burn wounds becoming infected

Burn injuries are a serious problem. They are associated with a significant incidence of death and disability, multiple surgical procedures, prolonged hospitalisation, and high costs of health care.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Aloe vera for treating acute and chronic wounds

Aloe vera is a cactus‐like, succulent plant which grows in tropical climates. Aloe vera is widely used in a variety of cosmetics including creams and toiletries. Some studies conducted in animals have suggested that Aloe vera may help wound healing. Aloe vera can be applied topically as a cream or gel, or can be impregnated into a dressing and applied to the wound.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Alginate dressings for treating pressure ulcers

Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, decubitus ulcers and pressure injuries, are wounds involving the skin and sometimes the tissue that lies underneath. Pressure ulcers can be painful, may become infected, and so affect people's quality of life. People at risk of developing pressure ulcers include those with spinal cord injuries, and those who are immobile or who have limited mobility ‐ such as elderly people and people who are ill as a result of short‐term or long‐term medical conditions.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Antiseptics for Burns

We reviewed the evidence about whether antiseptics are safe and effective for treating burn wounds.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2017

Antibiotics and antiseptics for pressure ulcers

Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, decubitus ulcers and pressure injuries, are wounds involving the skin and often the tissue that lies underneath. Pressure ulcers can be painful, may become infected, and affect people’s quality of life. People at risk of developing pressure ulcers include those with spinal cord injuries, and those who are immobile or have limited mobility, such as elderly people and people who are ill.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Honey as a topical treatment for acute and chronic wounds

We reviewed the evidence about the effects of applying honey on the healing of any kind of wound. We found 26 studies involving 3011 people with many different kinds of wounds. Honey was compared with many different treatments in the included studies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Antibiotics and antiseptics to help healing venous leg ulcers

Venous leg ulcers are a type of wound that can take a long time to heal. These ulcers can become infected, and this might cause further delay to healing. Two types of treatment are available to treat infection: systemic antibiotics (i.e. antibiotics taken by mouth or by injection) and topical preparations (i.e. treatments applied directly to the wound). Whether systemic or topical preparations are used, patients will also usually have a wound dressing and bandage over the wound. This review was undertaken to find out whether using antibiotics and antiseptics works better than usual care in healing venous leg ulcers, and if so, to find out which antibiotic and antiseptic preparations are better than others. In terms of topical preparations, some evidence is available to support the use of cadexomer iodine (a topical agent thought to have cleansing and antibacterial effects). Current evidence does not support the use of honey‐ or silver‐based products. Further good quality research is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of antibiotic tablets and topical agents such as povidone‐iodine, peroxide‐based products and other topical antibiotics and antiseptics in healing venous leg ulceration.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Topical antimicrobial agents (antibacterial products applied directly to wounds) for treating foot ulcers in people with diabetes

We reviewed the evidence about whether or not antimicrobial agents (antibacterial products) can prevent or treat foot infections in people with diabetes when they are applied topically (directly to the affected area). We wanted to find out if antibacterial treatments could help both infected and uninfected wounds to heal, and prevent infection in uninfected wounds.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2017

Medical treatments for fungal infection of the cornea (clear front part of the eye)

We identified 12 randomised controlled trials that included 981 people; the evidence is current up to March 2015. The trials were mainly conducted in India.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Topical (applied to the skin) phenytoin for treating pressure ulcers   

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of phenytoin (a medication used orally to treat epilepsy) when used as a cream or in a dressing applied directly to pressure ulcers. We wanted to find out if phenytoin affected ulcer healing, and if it had any harmful side effects.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 22, 2017

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